Jammu and Kashmir to revive Buddhist sites to promote

Sindh Today, July 10, 2009

Srinagar, India -- In a bid to attract more Buddhist pilgrims, Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism department is set to rejuvenate Buddhist sites in the state.

The department has already sent a plan to the Archaeological Survey of India proposing to install basic facilities at these sites.

Places like Parihaspora, Harwan and Kanispura-Ushkura, which still have ruins of Buddhist monasteries, are planned to be included in department’s pilgrimage tourism initiative.

Besides their historical importance, these sites hold a lot of significance and emotional attachment to Buddhists the world over.

‘We are going to develop a Buddhist circuit, starting from Harwan, where second international Buddhist conference was held. There’s still a stupa on the site. Similarly, there is still a stupa in Parihaspora that is also a known one. Our programme is that we will develop the whole circuit of Buddhist tourism,” said Farooq Shah, Director of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism.

Once these sites are developed, they will give a boost to local infrastructure and generate employment for locals.

“This (Parihaspora) is one of the famed sites of Gautam Buddha. If the centre and Kashmir government pay attention and give it a facelift then Buddhists will come here. On the other hand, the villagers here, who are very poor, will get employment. If tourists come here, unemployment will end, “ said a local.